AFRICA: CDC, Finnfund and Norfund bet on sustainable forestry with $500 million

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AFRICA: CDC, Finnfund and Norfund invest $500m in sustainable agroforestry© Jen Watson/Shutterstock

A partnership has just been formed between British investor CDC Group, Finnfund of Finland, Norfund of Norway and the investment company New Forests. These investors will mobilize $500 million for sustainable forestry to reduce pressure on forests in sub-Saharan Africa.

Pledges of funding are pouring in from Glasgow, Scotland, where COP26 is being held. British diplomacy, which is hosting the international event, is actively proposing solutions to reduce global warming. Its financial arm, CDC Group, is announcing a partnership with Finnfund, the Finnish industrial cooperation fund, Norfund, the Norwegian government’s investment fund for developing countries, and New Forests, an investment manager specializing in sustainable landscapes.

The partnership aims to mobilize $500 million over the next three years as part of global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To reduce pressure on sub-Saharan Africa’s forests, these partners will finance sustainable forestry.

Reducing the exploitation of primary forests

“Africa is home to about 17 percent of the world’s forests, including 20 percent of all tropical forests. These vital ecosystems are under pressure from biodiversity loss and deforestation, while the continent faces a growing shortage of wood products due to economic and population growth. Increasing the sustainability of timber production and improving forest and landscape management practices are essential to combat climate change and create positive outcomes for nature in sub-Saharan Africa,” says CDC Group.

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The UK government’s development finance institution believes the funding will enable the development of sustainable forestry practices, including the conservation of remaining natural forests. Specifically, this involves developing productive forest plantations, community forests and forest restoration projects in the region. The partnership also aims to facilitate the development of nature-based climate solutions that will help prevent forest loss and preserve Africa’s natural capital.

P4F Technical Support

The Partnership for Sustainable Forestry Development in Sub-Saharan Africa is supported by Partnerships for Forests (P4F), a program funded by the UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCDO). “P4F will fund the establishment of a technical assistance facility to support the long-term environmental and social sustainability of investment strategies. It will identify investments with opportunities for inclusion of smallholders in the business model, and ensure that forest protection and landscape restoration activities are appropriately integrated into the partnership’s target landscapes,” says Baemnet Aschenaki, P4F’s regional director for East Africa.

The development of sustainable forestry will create green jobs while improving livelihoods and promoting sustainable and inclusive economic development in rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. According to CDC, the partnership builds on each financial institution’s existing commitments to responsible forestry, as well as New Forests’ track record of investment and climate finance in the forestry sector in several countries.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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